This page uses content from Wikipedia and is licensed under CC BY-SA.


DR 270 in Scania, modern Sweden, is one of several runestones that were raised in commemoration of someone's félagi.

Félag (Old Norse, meaning "fellowship, partnership"[1]) was a joint financial venture between partners in Viking Age society.[2][3]


The word félag is constructed by the word (cattle, wealth) and a verbal base denoting "lay",[4] the meaning being "to lay property together."[5]

The Old Norse word félagi "companion, comrade" originally meaning "one who has félag with another" has resulted in the modern English word fellow from Old English feolaga, Danish fælle from Old Danish felge, and Norwegian felle.[4][5]

The modern English word fellowship derives from the Old Norse félag stem, adding the -ship suffix as a "condition of being", cognate with Icelandic félagskap. The word also exists in other Germanic languages; Norwegian fellesskap, Danish fællesskab and Dutch vennootschap.

Runic inscriptions

The term félag is mentioned on a broad range of runic inscriptions,[6] most notably in the form félagi (see etymology section), in these contexts meaning "comrade", "weapon brother" or "partner". Runestones that use a form of the term félag include Sö 292 in Bröta, Vg 112 in Ås, Vg 122 in Abrahamstorp, the now-lost Vg 146 in Slöta, Vg 182 in Skattegården, U 391 in Villa Karlsro, the now-lost U 954 in Söderby, DR 1 in Haddeby, DR 66 and DR 68 in Århus, DR 125 in Dalbyover, DR 127 in Hobro, DR 262 in Fosie, DR 270 in Skivarp, DR 279 in Sjörup, DR 316 in Norra Nöbbelöv, DR 318 in Håstad, DR 321 in Västra Karaby, DR 329 and DR 330 in Gårdstånga, DR 339 in Stora Köpinge, and X UaFv1914;47 in Berezanj, Ukraina.

N 648

Félag is mentioned on N 648, a runekjevle (cylinder shaped piece of wood with a smooth side for the runes)[7] excavated in Bergen. The inscription dates back to the early fourteenth century. The inscription speaks of Þórir the Fair who greets his félagi Hafgrímr, and requests his partner to help him in need.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Zoëga's A Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic. Available online
  2. ^ Fritzner, Johan (1867). Ordbog over det Gamle Norske Sprog. Feilberg & Landmark. p. 139.
  3. ^ Jesch, Judith (2001). Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. pp. 232–235. ISBN 978-0-85115-826-6.
  4. ^ a b "Etymology of the word fellow at Etymonline". Retrieved 6 September 2010.
  5. ^ a b Falk, Hjalmar and Torp, Alf (1992) Etyomologisk Ordbog over det Danske og det Norske Sprog, entry fællig, fælles and fælle. Bjørn Ringstrøms Antikvariat. ISBN 82-90520-16-6
  6. ^ a b According to Rundata 2.0.
  7. ^ Schjøtt, Steinar (1909). Dansk–Norsk Ordbog. H. Aschehoug & Co. p. 677.